BEACON TRANSCRIPT – A new study published in the Journal of Food Protection suggests that water temperature doesn’t matter in hand hygiene. You can still remove the germs even if the water is hot or cold. What matters in is, in fact, the time you spend washing your hands.
The findings are different from the FDA guidelines
The FDA recommends that restaurants should offer water at a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit for washing. Therefore, researchers from Rutgers University in New Jersey decided to see if germs are indeed killed only after hot water washing.
Their results contradict the FDA guidelines. They found that cold water is as effective against germs as hot water, so it’s not water temperature which matters. What is more important is actually the time spent washing the hands. People need at least 10 seconds to scrub their hands with soap and then rinse.
The time spent washing your hands is more important than water temperature
Also, being comfortable is more important during washing, and cold water consumes less energy than hot water, being effective at the same time. Therefore, if the water is not warm enough before washing, there’s no need to worry. You only have to thoroughly rub soap on your hands for 10 seconds, and most germs are killed.
The study lasted for six months, during which 21 participants had their hands contaminated which significant quantities of harmless bacteria. Then, they had to wash their hands with water of different temperatures: 60 degrees, 70 degrees, and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
The results were not influenced by temperature, and neither by the quantity of soap the participants used. However, researchers need to perform more studies to find if there are certain kinds of soap which are better against potentially harmful bacteria. They suggest that the FDA guidelines should change, as a lot of energy is wasted to deliver hot water, which is not even necessary.
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